Vital Discussions: On Demand – The Aesthetic Life
This event is free for all. Register to be sent a link to this pre-recorded event on the day.
She was not serious. She was not good. Her life was a tissue of vanity and deceit.
Woolf wrote about material culture in the shadows of conflict, destruction and colonialism, presenting high-society in a London struggling to put itself back together again, but is Mrs Dalloway really just a novel about parties and pretty things? And what does the aesthetic life mean to us today?
Join us for this free, transatlantic conversation between two novelists whose works explore the power of aesthetics in the 21st Century. Yomi Adegoke's forthcoming debut novel, The List, puts contemporary society in the spotlight, throwing internet culture’s (lack of) morals into stark relief. In Elif Batuman's Either/Or, the follow-up to 2017’s The Idiot, protagonist Selin reads Kierkegaard’s Either/Or and battles with whether to live an ethical or aesthetic life, whilst discovering 'the universal importance of parties, alcohol, and sex’.
Yomi Adegoke is a multi-award-winning journalist and author. She is currently a columnist at the Guardian and British Vogue and is the former host of the Women’s Fiction Prize podcast. In 2018, she was named one of the most influential people in London by the Evening Standard and in 2021, she was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. She is co-author of the book Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible and in Spring 2023 will be publishing her debut novel, The List.
Elif Batuman’s first novel, The Idiot, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. She has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2010 and holds a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. Either/Or is her second novel.
Part of our Vital Discussions: On Demand series, this event is in partnership with Lit Hub